Monday, July 23, 2018

1907 blue-tinted postcard featuring Europe's first high-rise

This postcard was mailed 111 years ago, in 1907, and it's certainly showing its age, with scratches, creases and rough corners. To me, that just enhances its beauty and propels it into the potential ranks of Water-Stained or Otherwise Damaged Works of Art.1 The blue-tinted card showcases a historic European building that was then in its first decade of existence.

The structure is the Witte Huis in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Constructed in 1898 and standing 10 stories tall, it is arguably the first high-rise building2 in Europe, though it competes with the much taller (and much later) Boerentoren in Antwerp, Belgium, semantically speaking, for the "official" honor.

Witte Haus was constructed in the Art Nouveau style, with a rooftop observation deck, central heating and electric elevators. No wood was used within the construction, for fear of fire, so the roof was built of iron with cork insulation. The building was one of the few in central Rotterdam to withstand the German bombing raids of World War II, and furthermore it served as an important elevated location for the Dutch military in trying to repel German forces.

The Witte Huis still stands today and is a National Heritage Site in the Netherlands.

This postcard was mailed from Rotterdam to Media, Pennsylvania, in 1907, with a red, five-cent stamp featuring Wilhelmina Helena Pauline Maria (1880-1962), who became Queen of the Netherlands in 1890 at age 10. Discover everything you ever wanted to know about Netherlands stamps of 1898 to 1924 in this article at Stamp Collecting World.

1. See also:
2. The Dutch word for high-rise is hoogbouw.

No comments:

Post a Comment